2011-09-23 / Commentary

Procedures and iPhone Apps

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation
Mike Cox

I lost my tonsils when I was six. Tried to eat my favorite snack on the trip home from the hospital. A Tip Top Lucky Cake consisted of two chocolate cake wafers separated by a sweet, white cream. Every region of the country has this dessert, but the name varies depending on where you live. Those things are addictive no matter what they are called.

I was unable to swallow a single bite. My throat was still raw enough that the chocolate essence felt like sand. I risked my father’s wrath and spit it out the car window. The next time I suffered the after effects of surgery I was past 40. Now the body scars are growing at an alarming rate of speed.

When one is young and ligaments and muscles still possess elasticity, getting injured involves miscalculation, inebriation, or uttering the phrase, “Hey ya’ll watch this.” Going to the doctor without being injured is unthinkable.

As humans grow older, we become capable of injuring ourselves doing mundane and ordinary things. Walking the dog or replacing a sheet of plywood can result in surgery. Attempting a new recreational endeavor can mean traction. Old people instinctively grow more in tune with their bodies and visit specialized doctors to stay that way. The medical procedure becomes part of life.

I completed one of the more common procedures last week. A colonoscopy is feared by countless grown men, though few will admit it. The activity itself is painless; you are asleep for the whole thing. Prepping and after effects are about as bothersome as eating Mexican food three consecutive days. The worst part is the idea.

My biggest disappointment with my latest turn at letting my doctor televise my insides was the lack of weight loss I was desperately counting on. Since I stopped hanging around Lowe’s and moving heavy boxes, a few pounds have found their way to my torso. A friend from Charleston, a delicately polite human named Rich, recently referred to my abundant and growing midsection as pudding.

I was embarrassed enough to develop a plan. Not a good one, evidently. I saw ads for colon cleansing products on TV, where the trustworthy announcer in the white coat tells you how easy weight loss is if you just clean out your insides with their wonder product.

“Most people have ten to 20 pounds of excess fat stuck to their colon like spackling.”

I figured what I was doing at the doctor’s request would serve the same purpose. Regrettably, it didn’t work. You don’t think those television guys were lying about how much fat is in the colon do you? In the end (sorry) my results were positive enough to wait five years to schedule my next visit.

Possibly by then there will be a better way to screen for colon cancer. A friend has a cell phone that can identify a song when you hold it near a speaker. At some point we might actually invent useful things for these wondrous gadgets to do. Maybe in the near future one can hold a phone near their butt and get a physical, complete with cancer screening.

Now that’s an app worth downloading.

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